This relief, showing differing stages in the wine-making process, most probably came from a series showing the labours of the months as part of an architectural scheme. Labourer motifs often occur in various forms as part of the sculptural schemes which embellished Medieval architecture. Vintage scenes usually represented the month of September. An earlier example of a vintage scene on a capital, from the Côte d’or and dating to the twelfth century, is now in the Louvre Museum.
The present relief can be compared to another of the angel Gabriel in the Princeton Museum, there dated to the early 13th Century and originating from the Pyrenean region. The squat figure with his distinctively large feet is echoed in the dominant figure of the present relief.
The vintage scene is carved from shelly limestone – a stone formed of fossils bound together in a calcite cement. Shelly limestone is found in both the Dordogne region and the Côte d’or in Burgundy, both well-known wine-making regions. Around the Dordogne the limestone was the dominant building stone and the excavation of the limestone provided ideal caves for wine-storage.
Deschamps, Fig. 40A
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